Thanks very much June and congratulations to you on organising tonight’s event in your role on the Council. Can I also acknowledge the Mayor and Rob Ievers and all of the distinguished people who have played such an important role in this very significant museum.
I think tonight’s celebration is all about those of you who back in 1995, 20 years ago, got together as I understand, 150 of you in a public meeting and decided to set up the Richmond Marine Fossil museum. That was following the enthusiasm and interest that was shown in this town with the discovery on Marathon Station of the 100 million year old Claosauraus. The enthusiasm generated at that time was just magnificent and I know there are many of you here in the room today who were part of those initial meetings. Then in 1999 the Council wedeled from the then State Government some money to do stage one of this facility and then in 2001 stage two was built with a significant contribution from the Commonwealth Government under its Heritage Trails program.
This centre is rightly placed here in Richmond because 120 million years ago, so I am told, this was the centre of this inland sea, the Cretaceous Inland Sea, is that how you pronounce it, the sea that covered inland Australia in those days. This would have been I believe smack bang in the centre of that inland sea.
Ladies and gentlemen today we celebrate not just this centre and all of the volunteers and all of the people who have been involved in this centre over the years but as well the research and laboratory work that goes into this facility and concept, which helps mankind understand where it comes from. This work is particularly important and I acknowledge again all of the volunteers who give their time so freely to make it all happen.
Not only is this centre important for recognition of our prehistoric marine animals but it is also part of this community and this community’s ongoing desire to be here in another 100, 200 years. This is a community that I have had a lot to do with over the years and it has always been a community that won’t lie down, that does see itself with a future and is making the future happen. There are so many wonderful things that have happened here over the years, Lake Fred Tritton is something that immediately comes to mind and again I congratulate the Mayor and the Council on that. And indeed talking about Freddy Tritton that fact that he did that first irrigated farm land at Silver Hills all those years ago. It’s not quite as unique these days but back when Freddy first did that it was that sort of determination from the people in this area who wanted to ensure that their town actually had a future.
The future of this town does rely on facilities like Kronosaurus Korner, like lake Fred Triton, like many of the things I know the Council and the community are passionate about.
Noeline Ikin and I have just today, at the Mayors urging, driven down from Croydon to Richmond along the beef road there. As you know the Federal Government under the Northern Australia Development White Paper has put some money aside for beef roads and your Council, you community is very keen to make sure that that road receives some of the funding. So Noeline and I had a look at it today just to see what it is all about and to be part of the communities campaign to make sure there is more Federal money spent on that road which in turn will help ensure the future of this community.
A lot of other projects around this area, the O’Connell Creek overflow dam will, I am sure, one day happen and I think that is getting much closer as the years go on.
Ladies and gentlemen I am delighted to be with you today. This is a centre that I have seen start and mature over the years. As the father of the Senate, that is the Senator who has been there the longest in the Federal Parliament at the present time, I sometimes feel a bit like a bit of a dinosaur myself and certainly my critics say I am an old fossil and that I should fade away, like the fossils that you see in the Museum here. But like the fossils that really make Richmond great, I am determined to stay around a lot longer to make sure I play my part with you people to ensure that Richmond has a future and that Richmond does things and continues to do things like Kronosaurus Korner, which are just so important to the ongoing future and wellbeing of this region.
Now ladies and gentlemen, as I have said, I am delighted to be here with you today for those and other reasons. I did have a much longer speech to make but someone mentioned to me today this is a cattle town and I know that as a cattle town you all love your cowgirls and cowboys. Someone said something about the COWBOYS doing something later on tonight that we all want to watch and so I will cut my speech down quite substantially so that we can go and cheer our cowboys on. I was told also something about a 'storm' but the only storm we are interested in tonight is the one that will come over and open up the heavens and drop tons of rain on this community which would be nice. But apart from that 'storm' we are not really interested in any other 'storm' here tonight.
So can I conclude by again congratulating all of you who have done so much to make this centre happen, and to continue it on in its so successful way over the last 20 years. It is worth celebrating and I know that tonight we will continue that celebration which is a thanks and recognition of all of you who have done so much to make sure this centre grows and continues to grow.